Probe of Gutierrez’s ‘landmines’ sought | Inquirer News

Probe of Gutierrez’s ‘landmines’ sought

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
/ 09:36 AM May 04, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—Lawyer Mauro Reyes Tuesday asked the government to investigate the “eleventh-hour appointments” of Merceditas Gutierrez, who resigned last week as the country’s Ombudsman.

“Before she and Deputy Ombudsman Mark Jalandoni resigned, they assigned some people to [crucial positions] who can manipulate the cases filed before the Office of the Ombudsman,” claimed Reyes in the weekly forum hosted by the Catholic Media Network in Intramuros Tuesday.

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Reyes is the legal counsel of an anti-graft advocacy group, Serve the People Movement.

Jalandoni had quit his post as Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon early last month following several complaints filed against him before the Office of the President for alleged dishonesty and grave misconduct, usurpation of authority and falsification of documents, Reyes added.

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Reyes claimed that Gutierrez, before she stepped down on Friday, issued a resolution creating positions for at least eight people in the anti-graft body without the approval of the Department of Budget and Management.

At least four people were appointed as assistant Ombudsman, he said.

Reyes feared the new appointees were “the stalwarts and alter-egos of Gutierrez and Jalandoni.”

Lawyer Stephen David said these appointees were holding “strategic positions” in the anti-graft body.

“[As assistant ombudsmen] they will control the investigation so in the end, the Ombudsman will only review the recommendations they submit,” said David.

The lawyers said they have already submitted a report to Malacañang on the supposed “midnight appointments” of Gutierrez.

If the government, particularly the Office of the President, fails to look into this immediately, Gutierrez’s replacement will be faced with obstacles in investigating and filing corruption cases involving former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her allies, said Reyes.

“The new Ombudsman will have a big problem because Gutierrez “left behind landmines in the office,” added Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, also during the forum.

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